With around 200.000 inhabitants (Kosovo Agency of Statistics, 2011), Prishtina is the most populous city in Kosovo. Public transportation in Prishtina is more than a “nice to have”: public transport is a component of ensuring equitable access to health, education, and other social services for a population largely unable to afford private transport to schools, clinics, and the like. Additionally, the use of public options would reduce the environmental footprint of transportation in a city where air pollution is a constant, pressing concern.
“Prishtina Buses” is a youth-led project incubated and supported by Innovation Lab Kosovo’s By Youth For Youth programme, which aims to empower young people to identify challenges in their communities and develop and lead solutions. The project’s young leaders sought to improve and develop access to public transportation by addressing the absence of route and timetable information. The project collected data via GPS devices on 16 bus lines and visualized the results using open source mapping technologies in an accessible public-facing web site.
Since its launch in January 2012, Prishtina Buses has seen tremendous use. The project highlights the value of offering a cutting-edge tool to local institutions as a first step toward digitalization of the local public transportation network; most significantly, as a low-cost, high-impact project with a user-friendly platform and great potential to scale to other municipalities throughout Kosovo, this project is a perfect example of how youth-led initiatives, with robust support and mentorship, can create meaningful impact in people’s lives.